November 20, 2017

Office Depot Pencil Clearance

I stopped at Office Depot on the way home from church and found a good deal on pencils, so thought I'd share to help others maybe get it.

These 12 packs were 43 cents.  You can check UPC 735854906979 or Item # 425-164 at BrickSeek to get an idea of their probable price and availability at your local store.  These are one of the brands of pencils we checked in our pencil review post.

I also found this pencil sharpener:

It was 23 cents, you can see the from the above photo, the UPC is 735854027100 if you want to check BrickSeek.

The best part is we were able to use Office Depot rewards for things we'd bought earlier in the year and turning in used ink cartridges.

November 18, 2017

Shopping During Drop-off Week for OCC Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ 11/18/2017 ~Saved about 90%

My week of shopping for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes started on the way home from church, I stopped at a Dollar General to pick up a Thanksgiving card for my great aunt, and found a good deal on some clothes, 30 or 60 cents.  

Later in the week, I saw about a deal on shoes at Dollar General, so my sister and I stopped after volunteering at the local drop-off center.  We got a good number of originally $5-$10 shoes for 10 or 20 cents.  Was excited to get a start on next year's shoeboxes...although if you saw my post earlier this week about one more shoebox, you'll know they didn't all get saved for next year-haha!

Later in the day we were able to run by a couple more stores and find some more.  My Dad is pretty much set for shoes for his 10-14 boy boxes.

Then our order from Amazon for harmonicas came in.  I'd seen someone recommend them, and they seem nice and colorful.

That's about 90% off retail due to: 
Spent from shoebox budget: $30.72

Saved through buying in bulk: $47.89
Saved with clearance, about: $225 (best guess, didn't look at all original prices for the shoes and clothes, but they were $3-$10 and I got 36 pairs of shoes and four pieces of clothing)

November 16, 2017

Last Minute Shoebox

What do you do when you realize your church is going to drop off 499 Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes at drop-off centers during collection week? Well, if you're really into organization/evenness you and your sister pack one more the night before you go to volunteer at a drop-off center to make it an even 500!

Thankfully we had some extras left from last year, plus some things we'd started picking up for next year, it worked out just fine packing from our shoebox stockpile.  We went through our packing list and were able to get things from all categories, and end up with a nice, full, fun box...I like every box to be great, and I feel it lived up to our standards, even though it wasn't planned!

This shoebox ended up being for a 5-9 boy so we could use the water shoes we'd got at Dollar General this week for $0.10.  Check out other 5-9 boy boxes we've packed!

November 13, 2017

Removing Packaging to Fit In a Go Box through Operation Christmas Child

One of the things I struggle with when packing shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child is being able to send everything I would like to in the box.  In the past I've sometimes packed larger boxes, but the more I've learned the more I realized the importance of using normal sized boxes, the more I worked on learning more ways to get things to fit.  One of the biggest things I've learned is to remove packaging.  This also helps reduce trash int he receiving countries (which often don't have good infrastructure), and opening tricky containers

If you left all the items above in their packaging, they'd fill the giant silver boot box...which is a bit too big!  I'm not even sure the big box would fit in the shipping carton.

Here's what went in from the different categories.

Once I took it out of the packaging, it still took some creative packing to get it all to fit, here's a layout of that:

If it'd be easier for you to see a video of how it all went in the box, after removing packaging, check out this one I made:

What's your favorite tip for fitting more in a shoebox?

Check out our other blog posts of ideas for 10-14 year old boy OCC shoeboxes.

November 11, 2017

Saved Almost 75% for OCC Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ 11/11/2017

While our shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child are pretty much packed for this year, I'm already getting started preparing for next year, so I took advantage of Dollar General's Buy 1 Get 1 Free Hotwheels/Matchbox deal.  Not as good as B1G2 last year, so I didn't buy too many in case they do that deal, later.  I bought 30, enough to use the $3 off $15 coupon I'd gotten for taking a survey...but for some reason it only took $1.94 off...still a savings.  I tried to pick as many different kinds as possible, also colorful ones.

I got some samples from MDSupplies & Service's special Shoebox Packer's order formI've been doing some reviews (you can check them out here)  of their products, and any extras left over after I test them, I've been able to include in my boxes.  We'll start using the toothbrushes soon.  As you may have seen on my other toothbrush reviews, I like to try them a while to see how they hold up.

I picked up this board book for a 2-4 box.

I'm planning a peacock themed box next year, so was excited to find this mask on clearance!  It also got me the survey I took for the $3/$15 I mentioned earlier.

I found an $1 off 2 packs of Dial coupon in a newspaper insert, so I used it at Dollar Tree to get 6 bars of soap for $1!

Finally, my order from Oriental Trading Company came in...this is especially exciting as it only took $3.23 of my shoebox budget!!  Had a promotional gift card from a mailing, plus a couple things on clearance.  Then I waited for a free shipping code  Yay for deals to put more smiles on kid's faces!  I found this original instructions for Barrel of Monkeys...although my understanding is these off-brand have flatter arms and may not work as well, I may put the instructions in with some:

Spent from shoebox packing budget: $20.12

That's almost 75% off retail due to:
Spent from gift cards earned, won online, promotional in mail: $20
Saved with coupons: $2.94 (plus free shipping from OT)
Saved with sales: $15
Saved with clearance: $12

November 7, 2017

Earn Double Cash Back for Online Shopping thru Swagbucks 2017 Holiday Sale

We often find it convenient to shop online for our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes as well as for ourselves.  By going thru a cash-back site we can have more money to pack more shoeboxes.  One of the places we use is Swagbucks.  A current promotion at Swagbucks is their offering of double cash back at dozens of different stores (like Macy's, Kohls and Ebay) during their 2017 Holiday Sale. Just go to this page to see all of the deals available and get the jump on your holiday shopping while earning cash back for shoebox packing (or shipping).

In order to take advantage of the cash back you have to have a Swagbucks account--it's free and easy to sign up.  Just create your Swagbucks account when prompted

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